You can enjoy a Roast Turkey recipe anytime of year, not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I love having Christmas in July as it's winter in Australia, a perfect excuse to eat turkey! A deliciously crispy butter basted turkey with fresh thyme and garlic, served with homemade Cranberry Sauce.
Roast Turkey isn't as popular here in Australia as it is in North America. For starters, our Christmas is right in the middle of our hot summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and many Aussies love to enjoy cool a Grilled Lobster Seafood Feast at Christmastime. I love the tradition of eating turkey for the holidays.
How to Roast a Turkey
As most turkeys are sold frozen, start by defrosting the turkey a few days before in the fridge. It has to be in the fridge to defrost to ensure that you don't get salmonella. Typically it takes 24 hours to defrost every 5 pounds of turkey. Depending on the size of the turkey, this can take days. The turkeys they sell in Australia tend to be small in size, around the 10 pound range, ensuring a quicker cooking time, less time slaving away over a hot stove!
Some people love to brine a turkey. This will add another day to the process. Brining makes the turkey more tender and juicy. My flavorful brining solution has onions, garlic and spices, which is absorbed into the turkey. This adds flavor and ensures the turkey doesn't dry out. Check out the video below to learn how to make a brine.
Next I choose my herbs and spices that I mix into the butter. I default to fresh garlic, dried thyme, salt and pepper to be combined with the butter, but choose your favorite herbs and spices. You need to carefully loosen and separate the turkey skin away from the turkey breast, without tearing the skin. Rub the whole turkey with the herb butter, including underneath the skin, directly on the turkey breast. Remember to pat your turkey dry with a paper towel before you rub with butter. The butter on the turkey skin will ensure it cooks nice and crispy skinned. I add extra butter on the turkey in the last 45 minutes of cooking, and keep basting it with pan juices.
How Long Do You Cook a Turkey?
For larger birds, just adjust the cooking time. This recipe below uses a 9 lb/4kg turkey, which takes about 2-2½ hours to cook at 350°F/180°C in a fan forced oven. The general rule of thumb is to roast the defrosted turkey for about 15 minutes per pound, or 30 minutes per kilogram. I initially cover it with foil like a tent and remove foil when it's ⅔'s of the way done cooking.
Always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure the turkey is cooked. Probe into the thickest part of the meat, like the breast or thighs without touching the bone. The internal temp should be at 165°F or 75°C. The turkey will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven by several more degrees, but don't be too eager and take it out too early. I have shared my recipe for Deep Fried Turkey below, if you want a different way to enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Roast Turkey Recipe without Stuffing?
When making a roast turkey recipe, I never place stuffing inside the cavity of the turkey. Quite often, we make the Deep Fried Turkey, and that obviously wouldn't work for stuffing. When you making an easy Stovetop Stuffing, it removes any concern about undercooked juices in the stuffing. It's peace of mind during a very busy day, and it tastes better on the stove top in my opinion!
Best Holiday Recipes
- Smoked Whole Turkey
- Juniper Berry Gravy
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Citrus Roast Turkey
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Leftover Turkey Turnovers with Cranberry and Cheese
This butter basted turkey recipe has herb butter under skin, which makes the turkey extra tasty. Also I don't roast the turkey neck. I throw it into the freezer for when I make Turkey Stock from the turkey carcass and leftovers.
I love this Roast Turkey recipe, with fresh herbs and garlic. A simple classic enjoyed anytime of year. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 9 lb/4kg whole turkey
- ½ cup butter 125g
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C in fan forced oven. Pat defrosted turkey dry with paper towels.
- Prepare the thyme and garlic butter and add salt and pepper. Using your hands, loosen the skin of the turkey from the turkey breast. Careful not to tear the skin. Rub garlic/thyme butter on the breast under the skin. Rub the remaining butter over the rest of the turkey, saving about 1 tablespoon for basting for later.
- Place turkey in a roasting pan breast side up. Loosely make a foil tent over the turkey.
- Place in preheated oven. After about 1 hour, remove the foil, spread the remaining garlic/thyme butter over the turkey. Baste the turkey with juices every 30 minutes until done. For a turkey this size, it takes 2-2½ hours to cook. The turkey is cooked when internal temperature is 165°F/75°C.
- If you have a larger size turkey or no thermometer, rule of thumb is to cook the turkey for 15 minutes per pound (or 30 minutes per kilogram). Remove the foil when the turkey is ⅔ of the way cooked, and keep basting.
- Remove turkey from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.